Friday, March 30, 2018

March 30 - 3D printing as part of cross-curricular project based learning

I love that the last day of the March is for Making Series (30 blog post in 30 days to inspire us to keep on making)  coincides with one of  my favorite examples of creating, making, and learning -  the annual 3D Vermont event! 

Learning from each other

For the past four years,  a large floor map of Vermont is rolled out on the floor of JUDD gymnasium at Vermont Technical College as the culminating event in the 3D Vermont project.  Teams of middle school and high school students place 3D printed models that they have created (to scale) of historic buildings at various locations on the map!  They then proceed to stations around the gym where they share their research about each of historical locations they have researched as part of this project.    Guest and judges circulate around the room listening to each team share what they learned while researching and modeling historic buildings in 3D.

Video Tour of the Floor Map

Each year I am blown away by the skills that these young students display!  This event is filled with evidence of learning ranging from research skills, communication skills, mathematical skills, design skills,  technical skill, collaboration skills, and  more.

This year's group of students designed their models using a variety of different tools including TinkerCad,  SketchUp, Fusion 360 and SolidWorks.  Here's a short video tour of some of the buildings that the students shared.

A close up look of some of the models.

Students used a variety of different tools (both analog and digital) to get accurate measurements to model their building to scale. 

Taking measurements with digital technology.
Applying our math skills!

Students took care to replicate not only the buildings but also the portions of the environments that were part of the historical narrative. 

The story behind the boat and the bridge and its ghost!

Using 3D finishing techniques to put our building into context. 

Many of the students also modeled the contents found in some of their building.

A telescope 

Taxidermy artifacts located in the museum

And it did not take long for anyone listening to these students to realize that this is NOT a competition about your ability to create a 3D model! As you can see from this video,   this project is  about the the integrated learning that occurs when students communicate what they are learning through a combination of tools and processes that lead to hands on- minds on learning!

Amazing evidence of cross disciplinary learning.

Evidence of students's research ranged from brochures, posters, photo albums, and  Google Slide such as these Google Slides shows

to extensive websites such as this one from the award winning team from Windsor high school

to carefully matted photos and primary document replicas

to actual historical artifacts.

One school even included a VR (virtual reality) tour!  

The competition started with a project that Mike Hathorn from Hartford High School designed for his high school history class. Student researched historic buildings in their town of Hartford, Vermont and shared their research by creating a presentation about the building historical significance along with a 3D printed model of the buildings that they designed. Over the past few years the concept has expanded to include middle schools and high schools from around Vermont!

 Mike Hathorn on the origins of 3D Vermont

And this year's winners....
Middle School Division

3rd place  Mater Christi Middle School

2nd place - St. Albans City and Town School

1st place - Castleton School

High School Division

Honorable mention ~ Montpelier High School

Second Place ~  Enosburg Falls High School

First Place  ~ Windsor High School

Past Winners

Additional media clips from 3D Vermont 2018

Thursday, March 29, 2018

March 29 Making Musical Instruments

The book Ada’s Violin has been very popular this year in our libraries.  As children have read the story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay many have started to make their own instruments from recycled materials.    This is a wonderful opportunity for libraries and maker spaces to engage their learners.

Recently EMMA (my mobile studio for creating and making) was invited to visit Stowe Elementary School to help K-5 students explore making instruments out of recycled instruments.  

We explored sounds and new tools and materials throughout the week.   We even ventured in the world of circuits to add some interesting visuals to our our instruments.  In today’s March is for Making Series, I’d like to share one of our favorite instruments - created collaboratively with students from different grades level (K-4)
It was a wearable drum that was capable of making several different types of sounds and also lit up as you turned it upside down.  This allowed students to experiment with sound, light, and energy and learn new beats in their music class.   As the end of the week, a classroom set of new light up beat instruments were  presented to their music teacher during the weekly school wide morning assembly.

Here’s a look inside our collaborative build!
EMMA  brought us some new materials and tools to work with.
We  used a 6 volt battery holder  with a switch that held two coin cell batteries. We also used old recycled network wire and learned to use wire connectors and electrical tape.  
My original prototype had 4 lights around the drum.  During the week we realized that the short class time only gave us enough time for the students to create ONE light that could be triggered by a tilt sensor, so we simplified our instrument.  It was still fun to be able to tilt it at certain points to add light to our beats and rhythms. 

Because I only saw each student once time during the week for a short amount of time, we did not o meet all the possible standards that could be met with this collaborative project.   But here are some of the standards that your students could explore at different grade levels during this project.
With the right facilitation,  a teacher could help a student meet the following standards.